A HISTORY OF RELIGIONS
Originally, the power and mystery of the sky was masculine: thunder, wind and stars. So most Gods became masculine--He. Mother earth grew things and was feminine. We knew more about what was near at hand, so the sky became the home of the most powerful (unknown) Gods, and therefore a desirable place to go after unknown and feared death. Hell was then below.
These superstitious, oral, nomadic traditions eventually became written scriptures forming Religions supported by a Church. The myths based on one strong God became dominate. Then Christians and Moslems built on these traditions just as Buddhism grew from Hinduism. English government built on Roman, and America built on all of it. Priests and Politicians were wise enough to make prophecies and promises far enough in advance so the results would be difficult to confirm, or could be fudged and faked.
Many of these "revealed" religions claim to come from the same God, yet there are many contradictions and factions. The One God concept was originally invented so earthly authorities could more easily control the natural, diverse individualism of human nature. But the one always splits into many parts, sects and factions-- so we end up back where we started thousands of years, wars and alienations ago. The inflexible scriptures and dogmas aren't absolute, infallible truth; they have repeatedly been updated and edited into confusing mush.
Although church leaders claim to represent Peace and Love, the spread of religion was often enhanced by force, conquest, punishments and torture-- not on merit. Religions have opposed government EXCESSES of coercion, but not the principle. Colonization and land theft have often used religious edicts for "moral" justification.
Desmond Tutu 1984 South Africa
"When the missionaries first
came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They
said, 'Let us prey.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them, the
tables had been turned: we had the Bible and they had the
[similar to native Americans and many other aboriginals, worldwide]
Priests and political power
brokers have enjoyed a cozy relationship to perpetuate their
supposed prestige. Which finally brings us to the real purpose of religious history: IT'S THE BIGGEST CON.
"Give 10% of your income,
plus a benevolent share of your estate when you die, follow
special, confusing doctrines and dogmas which the High Priests
will interpret for you by Divine Revelation, and
a special place in a heavenly afterlife will be reserved for you."
That's the second largest swindle in history.
Allocate your money as you choose, live the Golden Rule, and
you'll do well in this life, and whatever comes after...